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Backstrap Sandals — Five Plus One

Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.


In my mind, the perfect sandals keep my feet cool in warm weather, drain and dry quickly after some wading in the ocean, and still feel secure on my feet. A ton of styles of sandals fulfill those first two requirements with ease, but I find that the latter prerequisite is best fulfilled by backstrap sandals. Whether you prefer leather or synthetic sandals, this list will fill the sandal void in your life with a range of examples.

1) Malibu: Canyon Classic

Backstrap-Sandals---Five-Plus-One 1) Malibu: Canyon Classic

Synthetic materials have been growing on me recently, especially when it comes to footwear, and Malibu is known for their top-notch, vegan-certified sandals. They have a lot of styles, but their Canyon Classic is one of the most popular options with its comfortable, woven-strap construction, high-traction outsole, and wide range of upper colors.

Available for $110 at Malibu Sandals.

2) Il Bisonte: Versilia Sandal

Backstrap-Sandals---Five-Plus-One-2)-Il-Bisonte-Versilia-Sandal

Il Bisonte produces a wide range of high-quality leather goods, including their Mediterranean-style Versilia Sandal. While these sandals is a bit more “formal” than the other ones on this list, and I certainly wouldn’t take it to the ocean too frequently due to the slickness of wet leather outsoles, they’re too attractive to pass up, especially if your style leans toward Americana prep-wear. Just toss these on instead of your usual penny loafers and you have a great new fit.

Available for $220 at Unionmade.

3) Teva: Hurricane XLT 2 ALP

Backstrap-Sandals---Five-Plus-One-3)-Teva-Hurrican-XLT-2-ALP

For many, Teva’s sandals represent the gold standard for spring/summer footwear, and there’s a good reason for that. They offer a ton of styles, are known for their high degree of comfort, and won’t break the bank (even if purchased at full retail). Their Hurricane XLT 2 Alp is my favorite style of their current offerings due to the smaller foot straps but large ankle strap, which I suspect will lead to a comfortable and secure fit throughout even after a quick jaunt in the ocean.

Available for $85 at Need Supply.

4) Birkenstock: Milano

Backstrap-Sandals---Five-Plus-One-4)-Birkenstock-Milano

As I said above, many people consider Teva to be the gold standard of sandals, but as a born-and-raised Pacific Northwestern, I have to put my vote behind Birkenstock. While their standard 2-strap sandals are certainly the go-to style, the added backstrap on their Milano style is what grabbed my attention. With all three straps adjustable for optimal fit, their EVA outsole, and cork footbed, these sandals are the ultimate in comfortable, sockless wear. They have a lot of colorways, but in my mind, the blue of their synthetic Birko-Flor upper matches perfectly with the natural cork footbed.

Available for $100 at Birkenstock.

5) Hender Scheme: Webb Sandal

Backstrap-Sandals---Five-Plus-One-5)-Hender-Scheme-Webb-Sandal

Hender Scheme may be known for the homages to classic sneakers, their Webb Sandal, with a design similar to classic outdoor sandals, is just as compelling. Made with veg-tanned leather, functional nylon/webbing straps, and an EVA outsole, these sandals will both age beautifully and hold up well to whatever you can throw at them. Despite their more simplistic style, these sandals feature the same high-quality, made-in-Japan construction that we expect from Hender Scheme.

Available for $435 at Blue Owl.

Plus One – Suicoke: BOA-K

Backstrap-Sandals---Five-Plus-One-Plus-One---Suicoke-BOA-K

If you are looking for a pair of synthetic sandals that just look a bit beefier than the competition, there is no better brand than Suicoke. Sure, they offer a wide range of sandals, some that are only slightly beefier than similarly designed sandals from their competitors, but none of those have the pure presence as their BOA-K. One part synthetic sneaker, one part avante-garde style, and one part gladiator, these sandals feature two foot straps, one regular backstrap, and one higher ankle strap for optimal comfort and security. Plus, with the added toe guard you can be as clumsy and me without worry.

Available for $310CAD (~$235USD) at Haven.